Still in Ballina

Hello again from Ballina. Not much been happening up here, just moaning about the weather. After the rain stopped (a week ago) the wind started, damned cold it was too. The wind came in huge gusts followed by periods of relative calm. I have been worried about the awning, it is one the crappy American ones Jayco fit to their vans. Not a patch on the locally made one I had fitted to the Windsor. I have pulled the ends tight with anti flap devices but then the middle is loose. Light rain runs off but heavy rain leaves a pool in the centre. A pretty heavy pool. The solution is a couple of curved, adjustable rafters at great expense to the management. At least it stops the flapping which is like a crack and moves the whole van. Despite the rain and wind it hasn’t been much below 10 degrees at night and when the sun is out it gets into the low 20s. Much better that some of the temperatures in Victoria I think.

We have not watched any telly since we moved out of the house (May 8) so I dragged it out to watch the V8s at the weekend. Bloody remote didn’t work. I tried to buy one of the universal remotes at Hardly Normal and guess what, you cannot get one for a Kogan TV. Fortunately Marlene noticed a post on a notice board in a local shopping centre for a bloke fixing remotes. Dropped it off and 50 minutes and $30 later I had a repaired remote. The alternative was throwing the Kogan TV in the bin and buying a new one, or not watching telly at all. There is some merit in the last idea as there is so much crap on the air. Why do we see 40 year old reruns on the HD channels, beats me. You cannot watch a movie on the commercial stations as the ads ruin the story the extent that you can lose the narrative.

We are heading South at the end of the month, a quick detour to Castlemaine to collect Marlene’s car (and visit my sister) then on to Warragul and home ownership. Living in the caravan is Ok but I feel like our life is on hold. I’m itching to start getting a network together again. We both had pretty networks going in Castlemaine so we know the sorts of organisations to join to make friends and fill in the days. I already know a some people in Warragul so that is a start anyway. At least I won’t be a blow in, I was born there and went to High School there so technically I cannot be a blow in.

I spent time in NSW when I was in the Navy and the Air Force and I reckon the NSWers are different to us Victorians. I haven’t changed my mind on that. I remember in Manly in 1973 a bloke on a Rickman Honda (for the nonmotorcyclist, an exotic and expensive motorcycle) being ridden by a bloke in  full leathers, Bell helmet, gloves – and – thongs. D’uh?? The still ride around in shorts and thongs up here. This is an ideal place to ride a motorbike but there are not that many. I guess it is too hard to cart the surf board on a motorcycle. Some bright spark has worked a way to cart them on a push bike.

The surf has been pretty flat the last few days so not many in the water. Yesterday there must have been a large school of fish at Shelly Beach as there was a large flock of (I think) Terns diving straight into the water. A pretty good chance there was a shark around too. The birds looked like they were have a pretty good feed. Strangely there was no one fishing off the beach. The fishermen of Ballina are pretty well informed via the community radio station. Maybe they got there after I left. That was the big excitement in Ballina for this week.

The photograph for this post is of a snow gum shot in an early (just after Anzac day a few years ago) snowfall at Mount Beauty.Snow #1



Hello from Ballina

Marlene and I are still at Skennars head and we will be there until the end of July. The weather has not been kind with lots of rain and heavy overcast skies. I had forgotten how little there is to see when you go driving, the Coast Road between Ballina and Byron Bay offers only a few glimpses of the ocean over the 40 odd kilometres. All you get is very dense vegetation.

On our train trip from Brisbane to Cairns in 2012 the scenery was constant heavy vegetation or sugar cane farms. The Pacific highway is no better until you get to Grafton and there is farming on the river flats, and a lot of that is sugar cane. Couple that with the narrow roads and there is nowhere to pull off safely if you get a photo op. There has been a distinct lack of photo ops

The big news is that Bill, Marlene’s daughter’s fella has finally dragged the boat out of the shed. The boat has been under construction for 13 years, a big job but it certainly looks the part. It is going in the water in a couple of weeks so that will be a big occasion for them. Still a long way to go for them as the mast needs to be stepped and  rigged, which will take some time, and money.

Not much else is happening up here, I want to go South and get get started looking for a house  to buy. We can’t live in the caravan forever, she misses her sewing machine and I am missing my 27 monitor.

If this Post looks a little messy it is because I am still finding my was around the s         The Boat #2The Boat #1The view